When couples divorce, marital property and debt must be divided. Iowa is an equitable division state which means that property will be divided fairly – not necessarily 50/50. To divide marital property, it is important to work with an experienced family law attorney to reach a fair settlement agreement after considering various factors:
- Property division starts by considering each spouse’s contribution to the acquisition of marital property. This includes contributions made by a spouse who earns income and a spouse who may have given up a career to stay home with the children. If you are a spouse who has played a supportive role in forwarding your spouse’s career, anything from working an extra job so he or she could return to school or single-handedly taking care of the children, your contributions to further the education, training, or increased earning capacity of your spouse will be considered when dividing marital property in a divorce.
- Also under consideration is each party’s present and future earning capacity and the time and expense necessary for a spouse to acquire sufficient education, training, or experience to be able to find appropriate employment. If you put your career or job on hold to stay home with the kids and are now facing a divorce, your employment prospects may be limited. The court will consider your unique circumstances when dividing property or awarding spousal maintenance so that you have time to get back on your feet.
- When dividing property, the desirability of awarding the family home to the spouse who has custody of the children will be considered. Parents who are divorcing are often worried about the destabilizing affect the divorce will have on their children. When deciding who will get the family home in a divorce as part of the overall division of marital property, the children’s best interests are paramount.
- The amount and duration of support payments – spousal maintenance – and whether property should be awarded in lieu of payments factor into the division of marital property. Dividing the marital pie requires skilled negotiation. If one spouse wishes to keep the family home, for example, trading other assets or reducing support payments can help divorcing couples reach a deal. However,
it is important to look at the big picture to ensure that the exchange is fair.
- Any other factors such as the age and health of the spouses, whether a pre or post nuptial agreement exists, tax implications of the proposed property division, the overall financial circumstances of each spouse and more will be taken into account when reaching an equitable division of marital property and debt in a divorce.
Dividing property in a divorce is typically more complex than divorcing couples realize – it is important to work with an experienced Iowa marital property division lawyer to ensure that whatever agreement you and your spouse have decided is indeed equitable, or, when couples cannot reach an agreement, negotiate the most favorable division of property and debt on behalf of their client.
Iowa Marital Property Division Lawyers
Contact Our Des Moines Family Law Attorneys for Help
When you have questions regarding Iowa property division, spousal maintenance, child custody or support, contact the Des Moines family law attorneys of Stoltze & Stoltze PLC for more information at515.989.8529.